Much of the talk throughout training camp has focused on the big plays coming from Joe Flacco and the new-look passing game.
But in Monday's practice, the defense won the day.
The defense made life difficult on the offense, as the group consistently broke up passes and came up with turnovers.
The turnovers started when cornerback Brandon Carr picked off a pass from quarterback Robert Griffin III intended for tight end Nick Keizer. There was clearly a miscommunication between Keizer and Griffin, as the tight end never turned his head to look for the football. The pass landed right in Carr's hands and he took off in the other direction for the end zone.
On the next play, defensive lineman Patrick Ricard came up with his own pick-six. Defensive end Brent Urban deflected a pass from quarterback Josh Woodrum at the line of scrimmage, and Ricard snagged it in the backfield. The defensive lineman/fullback showed off his pass catching ability with some quick instincts and then broke away for the end zone.
A little later in practice, rookie linebacker Kenny Young flashed in his chance to run with the first-team defense. The weak-side linebacker perfectly read quarterback Joe Flacco on the play and stepped in front of running back Alex Collins over the middle of the field to come up with the interception.
The practice was a strong defensive showing combined with offensive miscues. Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg explained that the offense went through a series of play installations Sunday night, so this was their first time running through them in a practice. Some of the mistakes can be attributed to the new plays, but Mornhinweg stressed they still need to clean up the issues.
"There were too many mistakes today, so we have to get that thing squared away," Mornhinweg said.
Here were some other notes from practice:
- Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser (groin) and tight end Maxx Williams (undisclosed) both returned to practice. They had missed a few days of practice and didn't play in Thursday's game against the Rams. The Ravens are easing them back into action, as they were limited participants. Getting back on the field is important for both players as they're in the middle of tight competitions.
- Right guard Marshal Yanda continues to take more and more snaps in 11-on-11 drills. He's ramping his way up to full speed after his offseason shoulder procedure, and the Ravens are getting him more involved on a daily basis.
- Veteran defender Terrell Suggs didn't practice, which was likely a veteran off day.
- The biggest play of the day came on a deep completion from Flacco to wide receiver Chris Moore. Flacco rolled to his right and then heaved the ball about 55 yards downfield to connect with Moore who ran by cornerback Jimmy Smith. The ball seemed to hang in the air forever, and it was another example of the big-play potential Moore has shown in practice.
- The best play from quarterback Lamar Jackson came when he faked out nearly the entire defense on a play-action run. Jackson rolled away from the running back and had wide open space in front of him. He turned on the jets down the sidelines and beat everyone to the end zone for the score.
- Outside linebacker Matthew Judon had a nice day of work. He sacked Flacco during 11-on-11 drills and had good coverage against tight end Hayden Hurst on another play. Hurst actually drew a pass interference call for pushing off Judon, which led to Judon breaking out some dance moves.
- Cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste is competing for a roster spot, and he came up with a nice athletic play by breaking up a deep pass for wide receiver Tim White from Flacco.
- It was a fun scene after practice, as the Ravens invited more than 50 youth football teams out to the Under Armour Performance Center to take in the action. Head Coach John Harbaugh got on the speakers to thank the young players, their parents and coaches, and the players spent about 20 minutes signing autographs for the kids.